Several years ago, I attended a young adults ministry at a local church that spent an entire month teaching through the short books of the Bible. The books of 2 and 3 John, Philemon, and Jude were all on the list, and I believe this just might have been the beginning of my love for in-depth Bible study. I was absolutely blown away by how much insight and wisdom could be extracted from just a few verses of Scripture if one would take the time to dig a bit below the surface.
Say hello to our study of the book of Jude! We will spend the rest of this month exploring the wisdom, instruction, and even warnings that this small book of the Bible has to offer us. To those who are thrilled, just know that I’m right there with you. To those who might be a bit skeptical of this type of in-depth approach to such a short book, allow me to submit this to you:
The Bible is never lacking in thrill. We as its students are often lacking in discipline when we approach it.
Let’s take this opportunity to strengthen our spiritual muscles a bit as we dive into Jude. Let’s prepare ourselves to learn a thing or two. Let’s be equally humble and eager in our approach. Are you ready?
The book of Jude was written by who scholars believe to be the youngest half-brother of Jesus Christ (Jude) around the year AD 80, just a few years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Persecution of Christians was at an all-time high. There was a great cost associated with following Jesus. Jude was writing to a group of Jewish believers who were at risk of being deceived and led astray by false teachers. These false teachers had crept in among them and were twisting and perverting the truth.
How timely and completely relevant the message of Jude already proves to be for us today. In the upcoming weeks, we’re going to unpack some of the major themes of Jude, but for today, let’s just focus in on this one thing: the weight of influence. Influence is an incredible thing. We all carry it in some measure, and we are all influenced by others to a certain degree. Jude’s audience was no different. They were Christ followers, but they were at risk of being influenced by deception.
False teaching doesn’t always look “false.” It often comes in pretty little packages. It usually sounds good and goes down fairly easy. That is the deceptive nature of it. It masquerades as light. It counterfeits the truth. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God, the ultimate standard of truth. God’s Word should be what shapes and forms our beliefs. If we do not know why we believe what we believe, we can and will be easily influenced by waves of teaching that may or may not be rooted in biblical truth. The less rooted we are in the Word, the more easily moved or influenced we can be by our surroundings. The deeper our roots go, the more difficult it will be for surrounding elements to move us.
Now would be a good time to do a little personal inventory. Ask yourself why you believe what you believe…about God, about yourself, about the Church, about sin, about Heaven and Hell, about salvation…Do you believe what you believe because that is what the Bible teaches? Or do you believe what you believe because of something or someone else? Who or what is your highest standard of truth? Who or what informs your faith?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to unpack the rest of this small book. I hope this first week of study whet your appetite for more. See you next week.